|via Ag Talk forum|
A bushy Canadian plant called Kochia is no longer threatened by the likes of Monsanto’s glyphosate weed killer. This spells trouble as weed resistance to the top selling herbicide, Roundup, spreads throughout the world, in effect creating “superweeds.”
Monsanto stated on January 11th, that herbicide resistant Kochia was confirmed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) weed scientists in three fields in southern Alberta.
International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds found between 100-500 resistant fields in Alberta.
In the United States, glyphosate-resistant Kochia was previously confirmed in Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska. This tenacious weed causes much distress and loss for farmers as it can spread easily and grow up to seven feet tall even in drought conditions. Reports of the weeds’ resistance are currently under investigation in three other states: North and South Dakota, and Montana.
Syngenta AG stated last year that Roundup-resistant weeds like Kochia and Palmer amaranth have scorched 14 million acres of U.S. corn, soy, and cotton — and that will double as soon as 2015. A study by Dow Chemical Co. detected about 20 million corn and soy crops likely contaminated.
The proposed solution? Monsanto and its competing companies are back in the engineering labs developing yet more herbicide resistant crops to withstand more chemicals such as dicamba and Agent Orange element 2,4-D.
It is unlikely that the companies will look to prevent the cause of the actual weed resistance to glyphosate. More often, the burden of action falls on the farmers and becomes an increasingly arduous task to keep up with the complications of resistance.
‘We devote a lot of research to explore practical and cost-effective solutions for growers who are faced with glyphosate-resistant weeds on their farm. We have been fortunate in Canada in that this is not a large scale weed management issue,’ said Sean Dilk, technology development manager within Monsanto’s crop protection division. ‘But we have increased communication around this topic and we speak to farmers about this more often to lessen the likelihood of resistant weeds developing. It’s part of our commitment to stewardship and protecting a valuable tool that farmers have come to rely on.’
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According to Monsanto Canada:
Resistance evolves after a weed population has been subjected to intense selection pressure in the form of a repeated use of a single herbicide and without adequate incorporation of cultural weed management options. The herbicide controls all the susceptible weeds, leaving only resistant plants to reproduce.
- Start with a clean field by either utilizing a burn down herbicide or tillage to control weeds early.
- Tank mix effective herbicides with pre-seed Roundup applications before appropriate crops in the rotation.
- Include other cultural practices [like?] where appropriate as part of the overall cropping system.
- Use the right herbicide at the right rate and apply at the right time.
- Control weeds [how?] throughout the season to reduce the weed seed bank.
- Be sure to include other crops (including glyphosate-tolerant and non glyphosate-tolerant crops) in rotation with Roundup Ready crops to allow greater opportunity for the inclusion of other modes of action.
They also recommend a sort of farmer’s version of tech-support, www.weedtool.com, where farmers can “rate their risk and know their options.” The site’s disclaimer says, “This assessment is not a guarantee or promise that resistance may develop or the suggested practices will halt the development of resistance.” Monsanto offers a pamphlet titled, “Best Practices for Weed Management: Start Clean and Stay Clean.”
Dr. Beckie of AAFC said, “Glyphosate has likely delayed the evolution of weed resistance to other herbicides and mitigated their resistance impact. However, farmers need to think carefully about how and when they use glyphosate.”
Alarmingly, the glyphosate resistant weeds were not even found in Roundup Ready fields. Could this further indicate field contamination by seeds carried in the wind and a large-scale herbicide resistance?
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